July 19th, 2010
12:06 PM ET
12 years ago

What's the Tea Party Express?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/19/art.tpesign0719.gi.jpg caption="The Tea Party Express has become a major player in Republican politics."]
Washington (CNN) - The National Tea Party Federation, which seeks to represent the Tea Party political movement around the country, has expelled the Tea Party Express because of an inflammatory blog post its leader, Mark Williams, wrote last week responding to criticism from the NAACP.

Williams' blog post satirized a fictional letter from what he called "Colored People" to President Abraham Lincoln.

Even before this current controversy, the group was criticized by some within the Tea Party movement for being run by Republican consultants and for trying to influence GOP primaries far from its base in Sacramento, California.

CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser sums up the Tea Party Express and its place in the larger Tea Party movement:

High profile: The Tea Party Express is one of the best-known groups in the movement because of its three high-profile bus caravans and rallies. Sarah Palin spoke at the beginning of its third caravan, which began in Searchlight, Nevada, and its next-to-the-last stop in Boston, Massachusetts, before it ended with a Tax Day rally in Washington.

Political impact: The Tea Party Express has become a major player in Republican politics, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads for Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown in Massachusetts who upset Democrat Martha Coakley to fill the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat.

More recently, the organization helped little-known Sharron Angle win the Republican primary in Nevada to face Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, endorsing her and spending about a half-million dollars on ads for her. The organization says it plans to spend more to help her get elected.

The group also targeted incumbent Sen. Bob Bennett in Utah for his vote on the Troubled Assets Recovery Program and helped defeat his bid for a fourth term. It then backed underdog Mike Lee's successful primary campaign and Lee now appears to be a shoo-in to win the general election in November and join
the Senate next year.

Political action: The group runs the "Our Country Deserves Better PAC-Tea Party Express.org" political action committee, which was formed in 2008 to help raise money to oppose presidential candidate Barack Obama. It was created by Republican political consultant Joe Wierzbicki, who appears to have come up with the original Tea Party Express cross-country caravan.

What's next?: The Tea Party Express is targeting GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska and has endorsed her little-know primary challenger Joe Miller. It plans a Monday event to announce its support.

soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. avm

    PS: We also believe in God. And in God we Trust, not the Government

    July 19, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. Ideas and Ideals not ideology

    I keep hearing that once upon a time that the Republican Stood for fiscal restraint and discipline. I can't remember when any republican administration didn't run a deficit. In fact, the democrats have a more recent record of balanced budget and surplus. This has led me to believe that the "fiscal restraint" is more of an ideals which republicand hope to achieve in the distant future. Ideas are testable and attainable. Ideologies wnet untestable, unprovable, and unattainable during 2001-2009.

    July 19, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  3. Wisconsinite - the GObP Loves Big Oil, But Hates Suffering Americans

    Yeah right, the TPee-ers aren't racists, they just "pal around" with racists!

    July 19, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  4. vegage

    They are just a group of crazy, right wing, racist people. They do not bring good to the American debate, just division, hatred, narrow minded views about government and life.

    July 19, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. Bertina

    If the Tea party was such a movement of change then they would not vote for anyone affiliated with any party and vote for non affiliated candidates.

    July 19, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. sine

    why do we call them the tea party? shouldn't we just call them right wing republicans?? What is the difference?

    July 19, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  7. Terry from West Texas

    Neither the Tea Party nor the Democratic Party have any vision for America's future. Neither of them can describe what kind of nation and society America should become. Loosely stated, one of them – the Democrats – are trying to solve national problems one-at-a-time using the federal government, which is our most potent institution for social change. They have done a lot of good in the past, during the Roosevelt, Truman, and Johnson administrations particularly. Lately, all the Democrats are doing is trying to repair the damage done by the previous Republican Administration, but they are not making any long-term progress.

    The Tea Party sees the federal government as the problem and figures that if they just weaken that beast then problems will go away by magic. They have no idea how those problems will be solved or even what they are. In rough order of importance, those problems are overpopulation, global warming, environmental pollution, the increasing power of global corporations, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the very fragile global economy, totalitarian superpowers like Russia or China or perhaps Iran, the steeply increasing cost of increasingly scarce fossil fuels, breakdown in our national infrastructure, deterioration of government services like emergency response, deterioration in disaster response, the disaster that Africa has become, the complete loss of personal privacy, the endless repetition of commercial messages, the growth of computer crime, the increasing difficulty of obtaining a college education, unlimited legal and illegal immigration, and the devastation of the Gulf of Mexico to name a few that come to mind.

    American Conservatives (their leadership, not the hayseeds who vote for them) have no vision for the nation at all. Conservatism is a personal vision. Conservatives want to be wealthy and live a good life. They don't give a crap about the greatest good for the greatest number. They believe that the purpose of the economy is to enrich the wealthy and the powerful few at the expense of the mass of losers (middle and lower class citizens). Conservatism is an exclusively personal vision. It is the man who says, “I'm going to get rich (or richer), live luxuriously, and enjoy my life alongside others from my economic class.” Conservative leaders view the masses of Americans much as a dairy farmer views his herd. Dairymen do not think much about the happiness of his cows, as we all know.

    July 19, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. Daryl

    Sriousy, please stop giving these people a forum.
    if you would all just ignore them like a child having a temper tantrum, they tea people will go away

    July 19, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. Pragmatic

    Hats off to Rob Johnson for pointing out ""Just Vote Them Out!" it reads. Don't think about the issues, don't ask yourself if we are better off with loons like Sharron Angle in charge, just vote them out.!"

    Older saying of "out of the frying pan & into the fire" works well too! No Tea Party details on how to accomplish the bumper sticker slogans ... & as we all saw during the last GOP administration ... if elected, those people can not govern! Do you want someone who nearly destroyed HP when she was CEO near your government?

    July 19, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  10. David

    The Tea Party is an arm created by the GOP to do their dirty work and to influence the GOP even further right, the movement was born out of the GOP being sore losers and feeding off peoples fears – even in the 08 election Palin and McCain started this movement, I am sure all remember the hate filled rallies that the GOP facilitated in the election campaign. Do people really not remember how the Tea Party started, if it wasn't for GOP'ers like Palin and Bachman there would be no Tea Party.

    July 19, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  11. Dave in Palm Springs

    As someone on another article put it succinctly, the Tea Party movement was begun for one reason and one reason only. There were a large number of Republicans who could not stand having to look at Barak Obama and call him "Mr. President". They never believed they would ever see a black man in the highest office in the country. If that's not racist, I don't know what is. And the Republicans have proven time and again how disengaged they are with this Administration and its efforts to succeed. Everything that's important to the middle class has become a cause celebre to say NO!

    The Republican Party and their racist in chief, Michael Steele, have got to go. Enough is enough. While the Republican Party plays racist politics, the American middle and lower class are going down the drain. Wake up people, its not the Democrats holding back on life saving unemployment benefits, its the Republicans...they still get a pay check and they do not care about you. To put more of them in office is suicidal to us all.

    July 19, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. GL

    Some groups, including many conservatives, have lashed out against an Islamic organization’s plan to build a mosque near the site of the 9/11 attack in lower Manhattan. Palin joined the chorus this weekend, tweeting:

    Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate

    After some on Twitter pointed out that “refudiate” is not a word, the tweet was deleted off Palin’s site. The Fox News commentator and 2012 presidential hopeful later joked about it by calling her creation Shakespearian:

    And they support people like the looks of Sara Palin.

    July 19, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. GL

    After some on Twitter pointed out that “refudiate” is not a word, the tweet was deleted off Palin’s site. The Fox News commentator and 2012 presidential hopeful later joked about it by calling her creation Shakespearian:

    Just like she try to joke about writing on her hand. This woman is one of the biggest JOKER NATIONAL! She have become the National joke in this world and the Tea Baggers just love this uedcuated fools.

    July 19, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  14. Dom

    As it stands now, the TEA party is a HUGE gift for the democrats. In this country elections are won based on who gets the most votes (a plurality) rather than an outright majority. As such a Democrat may get only 40% of the vote with the Republican and TEA party (mainly) splitting the rest. Guess who wins? The only hope for the GOP is to completely re-brand as the TEA party, or try to get cross-endorsements which has been resisted by many TEA party candidates.

    July 19, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Once again I ask where the hell was this TEA Party thing during the Bush years. I mean he did everything opposite of what supposedly the party stands for.

    This is more of the anit black man for President. I am not black, and I can see racism when it happens. This is a racist, white supremist movement.

    July 19, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. Gil

    Give me one candidate who is not a racist or ultra right wing nut extremist conservative and I might vote for them. Rand Paul? Nut case racist! Angle in Utah! Nut case would take away Soc. Sec.! Radico (Sp?) in Florida! Having house almost foreclosed! No. Sicko's

    July 19, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. BlackUSAguy

    The Tea Party and Mr. Steele are really a Democrat organization to remove GOP senators and house members. 1 GOP down and more on the way out. This group and it's members are very upset with the way the GOP and Bush handle the 8 years their were in charge. So the Tea Party will make them pay. Which and see. I said this before and I will keep saying that. GOP leaders, you are next to go down.

    July 19, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. Mesa Mick

    Hey Rob J. @ 12:46PM... Excellent observation but here's the hard truth...

    You can't use intellect when dealing with the lizard-brained emotion-only response of the TPers and their grown up cousins the "conservative christians".

    July 19, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. larry

    "The White Annoying Teabaggers" party is made up of two different factions. The racist faction and the racists in the closet faction.

    July 19, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  20. bill

    look out republicans you might get stomped on by american voters.you better watch what part REALITY YOU ARE ON.you are going to loose kentucky.and nevada.noone in their right mind would vote for these two LOOSERS

    July 19, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  21. ST

    I never thought the Tea will taste sour. It does now and better pour out all of it including its baggers!

    July 19, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  22. The Other Micheal in Houston

    Like I said in another post, The Tea Party are nothing but the extreme right wing of the Republican Party that are bent of shape because they are being lead by an African American. And to Ron in California, the country moving foward by lying, deceit, stealing is a good thing? The reason why everything is such a mess is mainly what happened between 2000 and 2008. Now I will be fair and say not all the problems started at that time, all the administrations all they back to Lyndon B. Johnson have same blame in this. So where was the so called Tea Party between 2000 and 2008. Exactly! So let's come clean, the Tea Party are a bunch Facist, Racist, Jesus freaks, Domestic Terrorist who want nothing more than for whites to have the majority again and for our leadership to be white, again. That is why the Tea Party is targeting the Latino population, that is why the Tea Party is targeting the NAACP, that is why the Tea Party is painting thier faces (the new KKK hood) and making racial epithets about the President of the United States. Dude, don't insult my intelligence!

    July 19, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  23. Marge

    And say if they really are pretending to be tea bags why not dress like the original ones, instead of all that three corner hat and pretend revolun. war gear.


    July 19, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  24. Susan L.

    Poor CNN. You really hooked your wagon to the wrong bunch this time. Your Tea Partying friends turn out to be racist Republicans. Who knew? Oh, that's right. The rest of us. It was blatantly obvious from the first tea party "protest" I saw in Anacortes, WA last summer. Nothing but a bunch of old farts and the usual suspects of right wing extremists, whining and crying because they lost an election. Bunch of big babies. And that's what CNN decided was the trend of the future. You should have taken a closer look. It really didn't take much discernment to tell that it was nothing but a bunch of whiney baby-boomer hypocrites. Oh, and racists. Plenty of those. Even more John Birchers. Why not look up the John Birch Society and take a look at how closely related the Tea Partiers are to that old bunch? Now that would be an interesting report.

    July 19, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  25. Steve (the real one)

    felicia July 19th, 2010 12:18 pm ET
    a bunch of racist pigs
    Does that also apply to the NAACP or the Dem party? There are racists in those groups too, you know! How about we just label every group to include your church, (if you have one) and the company that hired you as racist because there a very few who are not right! That good with you??

    July 19, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
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